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2002-06-07 17:57:43+00 by Dan Lyke 10 comments

[ related topics: Automobiles ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment made: 2002-06-07 19:08:21+00 by: Diane Reese

Quite so. The "improve your already excellent MPG even further" game is endemic among hybrid drivers. I use the real-time MPG display in my Prius like bio-feedback for the driver, and have learned some techniques that I'm sure I carry over into driving other vehicles. (Top among them is that lightening the foot on the accelerator and backing off, even just slightly, when it's not necessary to *push* the thing, results in significantly better gas mileage. Duh.)

Sure is nice to read about the Insight's performance. Sure is a shame that the Insight only seats two. (I notice they don't mention that in these articles...)

#Comment made: 2002-06-07 22:15:35+00 by: meuon

At over 50mpg, the economics of these vehicles is interesting. A trip to Nashville costs $3 in fuel (tire and other wear not included). At 70+mpg... Hmmm.. Neat article, thanks.. (scratching my head..)

#Comment made: 2002-06-07 22:43:12+00 by: Dan Lyke

Back of the envelope, tires are < $.01 per mile (I guessed at $400 for new tires which last 40k miles). At $1.60/gallon, fuel costs run from $.08/mile at 20mpg to $.02 at 80mpg. Oil is somewhere in the probably $.015/mile range. If a car depreciates $25k in 100k miles (yes, I know, this is heavily car dependent), then that's $.25/mile, so capital costs still rule, but fuel costs could be a substantial portion of overall operating costs. Add in the fact that capital and scheduled maintenance costs aren't necessarily per mile, but have chronological measure as well, and yep, the economics starts to change measurably. Interesting.

Mapping environmental effects is fraught with political danger, but I remember someone claiming that rubber particles from tire wear are a measurable part of a car's environmental impact, so this could play all sorts of fun with public policy...

#Comment made: 2002-06-08 12:20:24+00 by: meuon

I've been told that the rubber particles from tires were eaten (slowly) by bacteria.... But I'm starting to wonder if we'd be better off long term to keep my big truck (need it > 10% of the time) and buy a hybrid for an around town service vehicle. My truck would last much longer.. and over a few years, total cumulative costs would go down.

#Comment made: 2002-06-08 14:14:59+00 by: Pete

Biggest point: if the economics are any concern, then you're just kidding yourself unless you buy one of these as a used car.

#Comment made: 2002-06-08 21:08:48+00 by: meuon

I have not seen any used in Chattanooga.. yet..

#Comment made: 2002-06-09 19:07:30+00 by: Dan Lyke

Actually, Pete, the Toyota Prius retails for roughly $20k and the Honda Insight runs roughly the same. Given the ballpark numbers above, that means your saved fuel costs could be around 20% of your capital costs, which is probably in the same ballpark as what you'd save buying a used car. So it could also just be a "new versus used" tradeoff.

I haven't seen what the used market for these is yet, I'd assume that nobody who has one actually wants to get rid of it.

#Comment made: 2002-06-09 22:15:12+00 by: Diane Reese

I've taken occasional peeks at the auto classifieds in the South Bay to see whether anyone was selling a Prius. I've seen exactly two, both 2002 models offered by a dealership (making me think they were demo or salesman-driven cars), and the prices were over $20K in both cases. I think your assumption is right, Dan: anyone who has one doesn't want to sell it.

#Comment made: 2002-06-09 22:31:11+00 by: Pete

I guess it's premature, but unless you're current transport situation is untenable, the economics of car purchasing seem to dictate that it is dramatically in your favor to wait.

Plus, I don't get the impression that these people beat the crap out of their cars.

#Comment made: 2002-06-10 01:15:43+00 by: Larry Burton

In my new job my wife and I can carpool to work. I've never bought a new car and don't intend to start any time soon. I think I've got to agree with Pete, at least in my situation, it's in my favor to wait.